Monday, January 07, 2013
The movie is slated to open tomorrow in Mainland China. WKW brought Tony Leung, Zhang Ziyi and Chang Chen to Beijing for the press conference yesterday. Once rumoured to be on bad terms with WKW due to the delay in filming, actress Song Hye-kyo was absent from the event.
Movie critics agree that the film was beautifully shot. The film also gave off a poetic feeling that was similar to Ashes of Time. There was also a sense that the character Chow Mo-wan was being brought back to life after seeing Yip Man dressed in a suit.
Currently 50 years old, Tony recalls the three years he spent making the movie. "I started training when I was 47. I broke my arm twice and each time it would take months to heal. Then I would have to start training from scratch again. Wouldn't you say the process was painful?" The first promotional clip showed Yip Man fighting a crowd of men in the rain. While the trailer captured everyone's attention, Tony can only recall the pain he went through filming that scene. "We spent about 30 days filming into the night. I told WKW that I couldn't handle it anymore. He just said it was fine and brushed it off. We ended up filming another week. Once we were done I was certain I caught pneumonia, but it was tracheitis. I ended up resting for five days. During those six months I was constantly filming from night till the morning. Once we finished I had to fix my body clock. I would sleep at midnight, then wake up early morning around 4 or 5am to go jogging. Carina would call asking me where I went. During that time my body was extremely exhausted."
Tony says he was in disbelief when the movie was finally done. "On the last day of filming I thought I would be ecstatic. When the director called out 'Tony this is your last shot' I wasn't particularly happy about it. Perhaps in my mind I was thinking of other work I had to do, such as voice dubbing and promotions for the movie. I really didn't believe it was finally over. In my experience, we had two celebratory dinners for the movie and still had to continue filming. You never know what might happen. Three days later I may get a call saying 'This scene could actually be shot better, why don't you come back and reshoot it?'." After Tony got back to Hong Kong, he had to rest for four, five days to unwind. "The pressure was very great and I was at the brink. In comparison WKW was very relaxed on set and was never in a hurry. We were the ones wanting to speed things up." Donnie Yen's Ip Man franchise will soon be filming its third instalment, while The Grandmaster seems to be taking its time. "Well when you go eat fried chicken you still have to wait! Both movies are very different. This movie really did require the amount of time it took to complete." Tony says he needs more time to rest and will not be filming any projects for now.
Zhang Ziyi portrays a master of the baguazhang in the film. She says she wasn't able to sleep last night after watching the film from start to finish. "Based on my current health and the different roles, I've decided not to accept any more martial arts films. I'm starting to get older and I discovered a lot of old injuries while filming this movie. I think my body has reached past its limit." Zhang Ziyi jokes that she feels 'cheated' filming this movie. "I spent three years training and being in character for this movie. I've felt all the ups and downs my character has gone through."
WKW has constantly been asked why he takes so long with his films, "I've been given such a wonderful cast. If there's more time, I would rather continue filming. While I'm a little sad that it's over, this movie has to make its way out to the theatres. The Grandmaster will show everyone the beauty of Chinese people."
Max Zhang plays the character Ma San in the film and has an intense fight scene with Zhang Ziyi at a train station. Those who have seen the film have said that it's the highlight of the movie. Max says, "I had a lot of pressure filming this movie. The action scenes aren't like the ones before. Every action had to be precise to show the different styles of fighting."
Translated by: sparkles_n15 @ asianfanatics.net
Labels: Tony Leung 梁朝偉